APRIL 3, 1948
LONDON, Friday—Owing to the fact that a private letter which I sent to President Truman became public property through a leak somewhere, and though the letter had no connection whatsoever with the statements made by two of my sons at a later date, I was chased across the Atlantic by telephone calls from newspapers. I know now that the only place where I can be free from the telephone is our summer home on the island of Campobello. There is no telephone there except one that is two miles away, and the connection is usually so poor that people give up trying to reach me.
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Among the other passengers on the Queen Elizabeth was Mainbocher, the designer, who was going to London to see the Dowager Marchioness of Reading about using some of the hand needlework of her Women's Voluntary Services. If he can work out new designs suitable for his purpose, it will help the sale of these articles so that I'm sure Lady Reading will find a great demand for them in shops generally.
I cannot help thinking, when I meet a man like Mainbocher who gives so much time and thought to designing smart clothes for women, that it must be a relief now and then to know some of us who haven't the time or the money to be really well-dressed. He doesn't have to worry about appraising our good or bad points—he can write us off his mental picture without having to figure out how we could be made to look better.
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The first day or two of our voyage, the ship had quite a roll, but later the sea settled down—or perhaps we did! New people kept appearing on deck, and one had the feeling of being at a gigantic house party. One came to recognize faces, though one didn't know who the people were.
I always take pleasure in watching pretty, well-dressed young British women. Several who were returning home from Bermuda or the West Indies were noticeable because of their unmistakable British qualities. American women are just as pretty, just as graceful and just as charming, but they are never just as British—unless they are married to Englishmen, and then they sometimes become more British than the British!
One evening I went to a concert given for the benefit of the Maritime Charities—old sailors and the widows and children of sailors. It was a very good show, with a mixture of British and American talent. Maurice Rocco of a New York night club managed, despite the very considerable roll of the ship, to play the piano with art and skill, though he had to execute some really remarkable contortions in doing so!
Miss Thompson and I had tea one afternoon with the wardroom officers. I found these young Englishmen as troubled as our own young men over the rumors of war that are spreading over the world.
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So many kind friends sent me flowers when I sailed that I was able to keep a number of people supplied, as well as making our table in the dining room look very beautiful with a combination of lilacs, tulips and violets. Friends also sent me all kinds of useful things which I have brought on to London. One great advantage of travelling by ship rather than by plane is that one is not held down by a limitation on luggage.
Our first sight of land was, as always, thrilling. When you have spent five days in a swaying hotel on the sea, land seems much nicer than usual!